I just moved my 3rd domain-based email account, from Mac mail to a Google Apps Gmail account (meaning that the email goes to email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org), giving me a total of 3 Gmail accounts I now use for personal stuff and work. I’ve been searching high and low to find the best ways to make using Gmail more productive and efficient, making it possible for me to strive for inbox zero at the end of each week.
It turns out there are some amazing tools to make your Gmail account more beautiful, more effective, and much more productive. Who wouldn’t want to instantly turn an email into a task, get a reminder to check that email again in a week, or even unsend the email you just sent without the attachment?
I’ve rounded up the best options I could find. Ready to use these great Gmail tricks to rock your email?
Here we go! 1 of 11
Bananatag — See who’s reading your emails 2 of 11
Bananatag is a versatile bit of software that allows you to see when someone opens and reads your emails. You can even get stat reports, so you can gauge what is effective and what isn't, when it comes to getting your emails read. This is perfect if you're someone that pitches via email with any frequency, if you send out invitations, or anything you need a timely reply on. You can get this same sort of information with your newsletters using a newsletter service, but now you can get it from your regular email.
Bananatag is free for up to five email tags a day, and offers pro plans from $5 to $10 a month.
Boomerang — Get rid of emails until you’re ready for them 3 of 11
Ever want to schedule an email? Maybe create an automatic follow-up reminder? Or bump an email you don't want to deal with now, but in a week? With Boomerang you can. I love this feature. Most of my bills are emailed to me now, and having the option to ignore them (if I need to) until a day or two before they are due, without the email just sitting in my email inbox is awesome Boomerang just bumps it away so it will pop up again as a new email the day you need to deal with it.
I also really like the ability to remind myself to follow-up if I don't get a reply really helps keep me on target with clients so I don't miss deadlines.
Boomerang is free!
Checker Plus — Stay on top of your incoming email while working 4 of 11
I've really worked on my personal productivity during my workday, and one of the things I've had to let go of is checking email repeatedly throughout the day. But this means I sometimes miss an important email in the moment, which my clients can find frustrating. So how do I check my email but also do my work without interruption? Checker Plus.
This is a Chrome browser extension (not available on Firefox, I'm sorry to say) that offers a little email notice to the right of the url window, and best of all when I click on the icon I get a quick glance into my inbox without actually going INTO my inbox. This prevents me from getting bogged down with routine emails that don't need an immediate response, but not miss an email that needs immediate attention.
Gmail Offline — Compose emails to autosend once wifi is available 5 of 11
I fly fairly often, but I hate having to spend money on a crappy wifi signal just to check email. (I usually just read a book or sleep, to be honest.) But Gmail Offline makes it possible to respond to emails while you don't have a wifi signal perfect for flying. You simply respond to your emails as usual, and then once you're connected again the Gmail Offline sends them all out. Also great for when you're somewhere (oh, say a blog conference) where the wifi signal is wonky.
Markdown Here – Add formatting to your emails 6 of 11
Do you send email lists? I often do, and they typically require some formatting to make them more readable. Markdown Here takes that formatting to the next level, allowing you to incorporate html, css, and other types of code in the body of your emails. It's a great way to make your emails look just the way you want them. Probably too much for my day-to-day webmail use, but too interesting to leave off this list.
Powerinbox & Remove Me — Unsubscribe from email blasts in a heartbeat 7 of 11
I know I already wrote about Remove Me by Powerinbox recently, but this little browser extension has changed my life. Now whenever I get email blasts that I don't want and never signed up for, I simply hover my mouse over the right end of the email note without even opening it and with one click, unsubscribe.
I can't tell you how much noise this has diminished in my inbox, without much in the way of effort. You need it. I promise.
Snooze Your Email for Gmail — "Snooze" incoming emails 8 of 11
If you don't need all the features of Boomerang, but still would love to have the chance to hit "snooze" on an email, this is the extension for you. This simple extension lets you hit the snooze button after reading the email to remind you in an hour, or a week, or even a month that it needs addressing. A great tool for keeping your inbox from being overwhelming on a Monday!
Snooze Your Email for Gmail is a free Chrome Extension.
Taskforce — Turn your emails into to-do lists 9 of 11
Ever wish you could quickly turn an email into a task on your to-do list? Well, thanks to Taskforce, now you can. When you open a new email, a button under the subject box will appear that will say "Convert to Task." Then it's just a few quick steps to move the purpose of the email onto your to-do list just like that. Really helps me stay organized.
Taskforce is a free browser extension.
Undo Send — For those oops moments 10 of 11
Are you like me? Do you find yourself forgetting attachments in email? Well, if so, you will absolutely love the Undo Send feature in Gmail. This allows you about ten seconds after sending an email to unsend it and pull it back into a draft saving face if you spot an error or forget that attachment.
Best of all, Undo Send isn't a browser extension; it's in the Labs section in Gmail's settings. Simply go into your settings (click the gear icon), look for the tab that says "labs" and scroll down until you see Undo Send and click "Enable." While you're there, you might want to check out the rest of the Labs good stuff in there!
WiseStamp — Make your email signature your own 11 of 11
Okay, this one isn't really productivity related, but that doesn't mean it's not great. WiseStamp is a Chrome extension that allows you to add a smart and attractive signature to your email that is html formatted to look nice. It also includes icons for your social links and links to your sites, and includes your picture. Of course it is possible to do that already in Gmail if you don't want to use WiseStamp; you can learn how to do that here. But personally, I think the Wisestamp signature is better looking.
Wisestamp is a Chrome extension and is free.